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Roger Collier | CMAJ | September 28, 2018

  • Unproven stem cell therapies are being offered at more than 40 clinics across Canada, according to a recent study. The therapies are marketed online and are not covered by provincial health insurance plans.
  • Most of the people dying from opioid overdoses in British Columbia are single men between the ages of 30 and 49 who work in the trades, according to coroner data. Of the 872 deaths reviewed in 2016 and 2017, 81% were men, 79% were between the ages of 30 and 49, 65% had never been married, and 55% worked in jobs such as construction and carpentry.
  • Twelve youth who died while in Ontario’s welfare system over a three-year period had mental health issues but limited or no access to support, found a coroner’s report. Many of the youth, aged 11 to 18, were Indigenous and eight died by suicide.
  • Members of the Society of Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad filed a lawsuit in British Columbia to challenge limits on medical residency positions for international medical graduates (IMG). The members claim there is an arbitrary quota on positions for IMGs, that almost all of those few positions are in family medicine, and that these barriers violate their constitutional rights.
  • Cases of mesothelioma, a cancer related to asbestos exposure , nearly doubled in Quebec between 2010 and 2017, increasing from 45 cases to 88, reported the Montreal Gazette. Some health advocates suggest the actual numbers are much higher and that many cases of the disease are not reported.
  • Veterans Affairs Canada will no longer provide health benefits to people incarcerated in federal prisons who are related to veterans. According to Veteran Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan, prisons are responsible for medical treatments for inmates.
  • The federal government finalized a bilateral health agreement with British Columbia to guide how the province will spend targeted federal funding. Over a five-year period, the BC government will invest $394 million in home and community care and $262 million in mental health and addictions.
  • Health Canada issued a warning about the risks of mixing alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can mask drowsiness caused by alcohol and lead to overconsumption and increase the risk of dehydration, alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injury or death, states the warning.
  • Women in British Columbia will soon receive information about breast density after mammogram screening. According to the advocacy group Dense Breasts Canada, high breast density can reduce mammogram accuracy and is an indicator of cancer risk.
  • Health Canada approved Shoppers Drug Mart’s request to become a legal distributor of medical marijuana. The pharmacy chain has already signed supply deals with several licensed cannabis producers.

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